Letter to the Editor: Garyville residents feel cut out of housing project

Published 12:02 am Saturday, September 8, 2018

On Aug. 16, a town hall meeting was held in Garyville with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This meeting came about after obtaining hundreds of our citizens’ signatures on a petition. The purpose was to discuss the low income housing project that most of our citizens do not want.

It should be noted that HUD and the Parish administration had promised several town hall meetings concerning this very important event, but only one, in 2015, was held for public input.

None were held since that time.

Public hearings at Council meetings are not the same as a Town Hall Meeting.

The following are some of the things we learned from the meeting and from other sources:

$5,500,000 is being spent on 22 units. We were told that this is phase 1 and no funds are available for additional phases at this time.

We witnessed that the units costing $250,000 each were being constructed adjacent to many old, dilapidated properties.

Upon examination, we also saw that the units are being constructed within 200 feet of the CNRR, which is an extremely busy railroad. It has two switch tracks, making that area much more vulnerable to rail accidents.

Drainage of the area has not been given any special attention. There was no adequate explanation for spending a large sum of money to change the roof of the worst building (Row House), that was supposed to be torn down .

The minutes from the council meeting of Oct. 12, 2015, state that Councilman Snyder questioned the demolition of all of the buildings three separate times.

He was told all would be torn down.

Obviously, there was never an intention to tear down.

We did not learn of any security measures, such as guards, nor cameras being planned for these apartments. Nor were any plans for a playground. $5.5 million of taxpayer dollars and no security nor playground.

A major question that was not addressed is “What ever happened to the units for potential plant workers and affordable units that were to be at market rates?” (As discussed in the minutes of the meeting of Oct. 12, 2015).

In summary, we the People of Garyville, were not given the opportunity to have a major voice in this very important matter.

If these apartments would be designated for only our needy people in Garyville, then that would have been more acceptable, but it is apparent that outsiders will be brought in to this “already failed” location and that is our major concern.

— The Committee for Concerned Citizens of Garyville,

Carl Monica, Jeremy West, Jeremiah Johnson, Donna Falgoust, Rick Oubre